The UAE Pavilion at Dubai World Expo is Inspired by the Falcon
As the host country’s pavilion, the UAE Pavilion, which sits at the heart of the nearly 500-acre exhibition area acts as an anchor to the Dubai World Expo 2020 and is inspired by the national bird of UAE, the falcon.
A structure that is resplendent in its geometrical pure-white magnificence, giving a distinct impression of being airborne, the UAE Pavilion is another Calatrava masterpiece that reminds viewers of the Oculus in New York. Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has revealed that the design of the structure emulates a falcon in flight and it is rooted in UAE’s local rich history and cultural heritage.
“We are thrilled to unveil the UAE Pavilion to the public. The vision behind this structure took on many forms and challenged us to ensure that the result of the design represented the UAE. The project draws inspiration from the urban fabric from which it rises to serve as an extension of the country,” said Micael Calatrava, CEO of Calatrava International.
Serving as the host country’s pavilion and the anchor for Expo 2020 in the Opportunity District, the UAE Pavilion reveals an immersive experience for guests to discover the UAE’s history and future.
The design is inspired by the majestic falcon, the national bird of the United Arab Emirates. Continuing to pay homage to the UAE’s heritage, the Calatrava team drew inspiration from the traditional Bedouin tent, incorporating such elements into the building’s elevation in honour and recognition of life in the desert and the local sustainable solutions associated with it. The sloped geometry of the roof and the floating wings create visual and outward connections that welcome visitors approaching the UAE Pavilion from all directions.
“The design of the UAE Pavilion captures the story we want to tell the world about our nation,” said UAE Minister of State and National Media Council Chairman H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, when he first saw the design. “Our late founding father His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan used falconry expeditions to forge connections between tribes and to create a distinct national identity which ultimately led to the founding of the United Arab Emirates. Now, the falcon design will symbolize how we are connecting the UAE to the minds of the world and how as a global community we can soar to new heights through partnership and cooperation.”
Landscaped spaces surrounding the UAE Pavilion on all sides allow for an effortless flow of pedestrian movement toward the UAE Pavilion, while strategically aligned bridges orient the main entrance toward the heart of the EXPO master plan, the Al Wasl Plaza. The layout of the UAE Pavilion site is inspired by the image of the Aton Sun, providing opportunities for visitors to approach the pavilion from all angles and to allow the surrounding areas of the pavilion to gently integrate with its immediate surroundings.
The garden at the basement level, which provides access to the lower level of the Pavilion, offers a cool and tranquil environment with large water pools and trees naturally cooling the air, creating shade, and reducing reflected heat, making this space a sunken refuge from direct exposure to the extreme climatic conditions.
An immersive multi-sensory visitor experience inside the UAE Pavilion guides visitors through the ‘Land of Dreamers Who Do’ through authentic human stories, with the goal of fostering a sense of connectedness, encouraging global and local stakeholders to collaborate with the UAE and invite the world to experience UAE’s story first-hand.
Sustainability is at the heart of the design, which incorporates elements that are energy-efficient, reduces water consumption, optimises indoor air quality, including regional materials and native species, and others. The UAE Pavilion is certified LEED Platinum and is compliant with the Dubai Green Building Regulations and Specifications (DGBR). Furthermore, the UAE Pavilion will be repurposed for cultural uses in the country for years to come.
The architectural features of the UAE Pavilion make this one of the most important pavilions at the Dubai World Expo.
The Pavilion spans across an area of 15,000 meters (over 161,000 square feet) and 27.8 meters in height that makes this the largest Pavilion at Expo 2020. An Oculus skylight at the apex of the roof mirrors the form of the Expo 2020 logo. Around 28 movable ‘wings’ make up the roof, which can fully open within three minutes, positioning themselves anywhere between 110 and 125 degrees. When open, the wings reveal a surface grid of photovoltaic panels. The panels have been designed to absorb the maximum amount of sunlight to harvest energy which is returned to the main power grid. When closed, the wings shelter and protect the photovoltaic panels from rain and sandstorms. A sphere-shaped, multi-faceted auditorium located in the center, serves as both a centerpiece and functional space with a capacity of 200 people. The space displays a symbolic interpretation of the flow of movement through the articulation of carefully planned lines and crafted spaces. Landscaped areas with thousands of plants from 12 different species, eight of which are native, as well as over 80 trees, with approximately 45 of the trees holding cultural importance for the UAE.
All information and Photos Courtesy of Calatrava
Photo credits © Palladium Photodesign / Oliver Schuh + Barbara Burg.